Shostakovich: Symphony No 11 / Pletnev, Et Al

Regular price $19.99
Added to Cart! View cart or continue shopping.
Mikhail Pletnev's Shostakovich Symphony No. 11 excels beyond the much-hyped Rostropovich version on LSO Live, which suffers from a deadening slow, heavy tread. Pletnev's urgent pacing brings the piece in at around 62 minutes (10 minutes less than Rostropovich), while his lively phrasing, attention to rhythm, and powerful dynamic contrast makes for compelling listening. Even the long, slow first movement--fatal in the wrong hands--remains interesting due to Pletnev's insistent rhythmic pulse and skillfully maintained tension. This tension gets released in the swirling winds and strings of the second movement, and even more so in the gripping march at the movement's conclusion.

The Russian National Orchestra takes on these passages with discernible enthusiasm, if not always razor-sharp articulation. In the slow movement, Pletnev's refusal to belabor the music has Shostakovich's touching theme emerge as a poignant elegy. In the finale, Pletnev drops the main theme's tempo by half--then launches full-speed into the following allegro, creating a bracing dramatic effect. The percussion section is the star of this movement (and in much else of the symphony), with bells and gongs ringing full-out from the orchestra. The brass is pretty impressive too, though occasionally the players don't project quite as they should. However, this could be due to the circumstances of the live recording. Somewhat bright and dry, it nonetheless reproduces with exceptional clarity on stereo SACD. Berglund's 1980 EMI version remains the standard reference, and there have been a number of fine new recordings of this symphony, but Pletnev's is a good choice for those desiring to hear the Eleventh played by a Russian orchestra, in modern sound.
--Victor Carr Jr,

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: PTC5186076

  • UPC: 827949007668

  • Label: Pentatone

  • Composer: Dmitri Shostakovich

  • Conductor: Mikhail Pletnev

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Russian National Orchestra